How Do You Beat The Pastoral Slump?
By: Vanderbloemen January 14, 2013
It’s so easy for many pastors to feel down on Monday mornings. Church leadership is difficult.
You just made it through a long weekend. You had a long day on Sunday, preached multiple services, tended to the needs of others, and even after all your blood, sweat, and tears, you look around the room and wonder if it was enough.
Maybe you worry there are people you aren’t reaching or you see that people are hurting, and you don’t have the answers.
You feel the weight of it.
You wonder: Is there something more I should be doing?
To make matters worse, Monday morning rolls around, and your Twitter feed is full of other church leaders and pastors from other places celebrating their victories. Their attendance was up, offering was up, such-and-such number of people were saved or baptized.
You want to be happy for them, but you’re exhausted.
It’s so easy to feel like, despite all your work, you’re falling behind.
You’re not alone. You aren’t the only pastor who feels like this. Monday morning is a perfect time for the enemy to show up and attack you in your thought life.
Here are a three of ways you can re-route those thoughts.
1. Identify when envy arises. The first step is to identify when envy or jealousy arises in our hearts. The quicker we identify the true reasons for our thoughts, the quicker we can change them if they’re insincere or misplaced.
2. Encourage them privately. This is an easy opportunity we miss out on all the time. Picture this: Your church has its highest attendance in history. The next day, you receive a DM (that’s “direct message” for you non-Twitterers) from another pastor in the community congratulating you on the day. How encouraging would that be? One of the easiest way to combat that spirit of envy is to genuinely celebrate the successes of others. We all share the same goal, don’t we?
3. Praise them publicly. The final step is to take it public. As encouraging as a private word of encouragement can be, public recognition can increase it exponentially. Celebrating publicly with your church leadership team will help you build that relationship as well as set an example for others who might have the tendency to react negatively.
The work you’re doing is God’s work. You’re listening to him, following his leading, giving in every way you can.
Don’t minimize what you are doing.
In fact, Monday morning would be a great time to celebrate what God is doing in your church. You can do this with your church staff or just with your spouse. Tell the stories of the remarkable things that are happening in your community.
You are changing the whole world of the people around you.
Although you might be tempted to criticize other churches, remind yourself that they are led by pastors, just like you, who wake up Monday morning and question how they got here, what they’re doing, and if it’s enough.
Celebrate their victories as victories for the Kingdom. Remember this is not a competition, it’s a story we are all as church leaders are writing together.
Their victories are your victories, and yours are theirs.
Finally, you may have to change your metrics for measuring success in your community. It’s easy to get caught up in numbers of people baptized or the number of people who showed up on Sunday morning.
We can get lost in the offering count or the salvation count, but if we did, we would forget that there is no measure for lives being changed.
Stories are being written all around you.
You are intersecting with these stories, and God is in each one of them.
What about you? Do you feel down on Monday mornings? How do you cope?